The holiday season will look different this year for people in your life that have lost someone. I want to remind you that we all experience grief differently. Sometimes it comes for us early. Sometimes it comes for us after all the cards, calls, and casseroles are gone.
Last year I wanted to visit a couple that Tim and I had spent the previous eight thanksgivings with, and instead of compassion, I was met with screaming. She refused to see me because I wasn't expressing my grief the way she thought I should.
I know she was lashing out because she missed her friend. But it made me feel awful. I will hold the feeling that conversation gave me as a powerful reminder of how our words can impact people.
If you are missing someone this year, I want you to know that I see you. It's ok if you are pissed and want to scream or throw things. It's also ok if you are joyful in your memories of your person.
I am thankful for the people in my life that let me meander through my grief. They didn't hold me to the societal expectations that grief is linear and neat. They just met me where I was, knowing that each day would unravel some new mystery or feeling. It takes time to come to terms with loss and what life looks like through a new lens. And that looks different for everyone.
When someone experiences a loss, you have no idea what things were like before their person was mentally or physically gone. You don't know their conversations; you don't know their agreements. And you have no idea how a person is handling their grief behind closed doors.
I know most people really do mean well and just don't know what to say to someone in a time of loss.
So why not offer them a hug? Or ask them what fun stuff they have been up to or how business is going? In those conversations, they will know you care and will talk to you about their grief if they want.
Loss is complicated; showing grace to someone experiencing a struggle doesn't have to be.